Selia Karsten September, 1996

  1. Learning Rationales and Virtual Reality Technology in Education

    Identifying VR as a full-immersion technology with head mounted display, data glove, 3-D earphones and tracking equipment, Chiou feels there is potential for VR as a learning medium. He believes that constructionism rationales can be applied to VR and th at case-based and situated learning could be used as a conceptual foundation for designing VR. He describes the case-based approach as not being restricted to problem-solving but to also include story-based situations. He does not support apprenticeships in VR as these would have to rely on artificial intelligence. He believes that computer-based tools need to be under the learner's control. We are told that we can expect the growth of VR to parallel that of multimedia in impacting education. He calls for specific design models for VR-based learning.

  2. Simulation and Gaming: Directions, Issues, Ponderables

    Uretsky looks to the future when computer power, storage capabilities, programming techniques, simulation development, standard software, multimedia and Virtual Reality, expert systems, Artificial Intelligence, distance learning and student mobility are a mong those concepts accepted by mainstream education. He feels that it is critical for specialists in simulation and gaming to justify the value of their work, to gain credibility and to develop sets of standards for evaluating, selecting and using simulations.

  3. Virtual Reality; Therapeutic Tool or Time Bomb?

    Cornell suggests that VR is potentially dangerous for unsuspecting manic or psychotic individuals. He calls for safeguards to protect those at risk. He promotes studies to seek applications that offset or assist in positive therapeutic interventions. Heavy users, he fears, may get lost. Strong emotional reactions may occur, even epileptic seizures may be triggered. Proper information, training for proper procedures and potential hazards and a generation of therapies using VR are all recommended.

  4. Programming for the Virtual Commons

    Stanfel describes "Virtual Cities", the National Film Board's project that allows students to step into and manipulate elements of the urban environment. We are told that the use of film is merging with VR technology and programming to provide paths to discovery. Shared environments can create unique cultures for exploration. and problem-solving. Integration of public, private and academic sectors for partnerships are needed in developing educational opportunities using these technologies.

  5. Adding Virtual Reality to the Curriculum - a Fictional Example

    Dietzel and others have created a fictional example for an instructional design model. A course which teaches about Virtual Reality is examined as to structure and content. These researchers hold that the earlier technology can be integrated into the curriculum the better it can meet educational needs efficiently. Interviews were conducted with instructors, students, other Instructional Design programs, and with industry in order to gain relevant data. The requisite for such a course would be to have taken survey of technology, computer applications and instructional design. In the course, one would learn the functions of VR components and how to design for and evaluate VR versus non-computerized media. Testing would be done. The study results indicate that VR education should be promoted.

  6. Virtual Reality; Real Promises and False Expectations

    Homan writes that VR is a catchy term but a slippery one like multimedia. Being an evolving medium, VR is difficult to define. The author feels that it is years from usefulness. Eyestrain, problems with depth perception, feeling tired and dizzy, wearing bulky goggles and clumsy gloves are still part of the scenario. He votes for less intrusive gear for a start. Homan doubts that VR will be seen in schools due in part to a resistance among teachers when it comes to technology. However, he feels that future work forces will need to be trained by industry and that here VR could be used profitably. In the final analysis, we are told that learning by experience, real or virtual, is the best way to learn.

  7. Virtual Reality in Education; Defining Researchable Issues

    Virtual Reality for situated learning moves the learner from novice to expert. Hedburg and Alexander examine and compare interactive multimedia with VR. They give developers guidelines for exploring VR in education. There is a helpful detailed checklist of factors to consider when its use is proposed in educational contexts. The reader is reminded of the need to understand the attributes of VR and to what extent they will enable effective learning.

  8. Games and the Design of Human-Computer Interfaces

    Thomas and Macredie discuss the relevance of computer games to computer-based training. They argue that game-like features are inappropriate in education. We are told that the intrinsic motivation effect in games is transient and interest is short-term ed. Further, the cultural interpretation of games as recreation and not work, makes game characteristics unacceptable in designing instruction. Opaque features are counter productive for educational applications. It is suggested that the usefulness in studying games is in adapting techniques from computer -based games to design software that trains users of computer applications - training having been differentiated from other types of computer-based instruction.

  9. Computer-Based Simulation Systems and Role-Playing; An Effective Combination for Fostering Conditional Knowledge

    Shlecter seeks evidence of the effectiveness of simulation training in applications of domain-specific knowledge to new situations. This study was done in 1987-89 at Fort Knox, Kentucky with 1353 students in Armor Officer Basic training. Using the prototype VR SIMNET training system, armor and mechanized units experienced simulated battlefield experience in situations where constant thinking and quick problem-solving was needed. The study concludes that students who were provided with these VR role-play activities were more successful in applying newly acquired knowledge in a field setting than those who weren't.

  10. The Future of Multimedia; Bridging to Virtual Worlds

    Dede promotes serious research for educators to do in the years before VR becomes fully available. He compares the concepts versus the technology for the focus in investigations. We are reminded that historically, humans have sought to transcend the normal world e.g. Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. The technologies defined in this article are VR, Artificial Reality and Cyberspace. The three variables of VR given are control, nature of reality base and the naturalness of interaction. Dede believes that VR will impact on the educational process - that there will be a shift from printed symbols in books to simulations. He sees curriculum moving from text-based to imagery and symbol-based learning. He is concerned about the ethics involved in depicting virtual environments and urges educators to get involved in the process now.

  11. Virtual Reality and Education

    Helsel cites the need for higher order thinking skills and knowledge of information management in collaborative and interactive environments. These cognitive skills are required for synthesizing from the massive amounts of data now available to learners . She elaborates on two stages of development in this area - the first, is to incorporate hypermedia to enable knowledge construction. Visualization and virtual communities can then be used to create artificial worlds.Helsel sees students as tourists traveling through multimedia databases with a context sensitive coach (Dr. Know). Using a production console, learners create products for their portfolios. Primary source materials act as building blocks in the knowledge base. The work is associative and non-linear. Learners evolve beyond knowledge representation to construction. VR and visualization empowers learning in multimedia environments. These interactive, psychosocial worlds use video links. Avatars and knowbots (Artificial Intelligence) act as trainers and librarians. Telepresences created with computer graphics represent remote agents for role-play. She references Habitat, Lucasfilm's adventure game in a virtual world, as an example of what can be done. She believes that we must move beyond passive narcotic behaviour associated with television to the world of interactivity. She warns that we need to guard against using the medium for propaganda. VR can empower or subvert goals. Careful research is needed to understand the optimal design to use for training.

  12. Magical Stories; Blending Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence

    McLellan writes of the power of stories to affect relationships to information. She tells us that interactive stories help create new and powerful learning. Virtual Characters, using Artificial Intelligence, model human and animal behaviour. These characters are a form of puppet. Virtual actors receive sensory input from both the virtual world and from the interactor. Research cited includes the following: Centre for Human Modeling and Simulation at the University of Pennsylvania, Bates' Virtual Character in Art project at Carnegie Mellon University, Laurel and Frankel's Placeholder project based on North American myths and ceremonies, Smart Costumes at MIT and VR, Emerging Media exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum.

  13. Avatars, Affordances, and Interfaces; Virtual Reality Tools for Learning

    McLellan studies the educational potential of VR by focusing on the modeling of the complex phenomena involved in the planning and design. She feels it will be invaluable in creating interactive entertainment and learning especially for communities at a distance. Virtual field trips to experiential environments are among the desirable outcomes of this digital world. McLellan looks at the "Legend Quest "game to explain the use of avatars or digital puppets. Sim Graphics has created Virtual Actors. The section on affordances features the data glove, a way to distinguish one thing from an other in the virtual environment. There are lengthy references to the popular cyber-novel, "Snow Crash" by Neil Stephenson. In this science fiction world, the protagonist operates a sword wielding avatar in a heroic fashion. (NOTE: The book is an excellent introduction to the idea of virtual reality). And finally, there are references to Brenda Laurel's work in VR using 3D audio to enhance the interface. The article ends with an enthusiastic endorsement for continued research into the design issues emerging from this new technology.

  14. The OZ Project

    In this virtual reality project, a master interactive storyteller subtly controls the destiny of the user or interactor. this interactor is the protagonist, determining the action. Authors create and preset the interactive drama in a simulated world using several characters, a theory of presentation, a drama manager and the interactor. This site on the World Wide Web links to project-related publications. There are descriptions of two versions of the OZ system used for the following projects: The Ed ge of Intention where "woggles" are animated creatures that demonstrate their personalities. Lyotard is a simulated world where a simulated cat responds to the interactor. Playground features three kids - this one is a test and demo site for building characters. Profiles of the researchers connected with the project are linked from this site. There are links to information on related projects.

  15. The Virtual Theater Project

    This site gives an overview of a multimedia environment at Stanford University where users interact with intelligent agents (automated actors). The interactors (users), can select roles to play from the following choices: producer, playwright, casting director, set designer, music director, real time director and actor. The other roles are played by the agents. Scripts are followed but improvisation is also part of the program for these agents. B.Hayes-Roth and co-authors have links to an extensive archive of related publications. "The Animated Puppets" project using "woggles" is linked as well as "Cyber Cafe" where two users interact with two different agent/waiters. "Master/Servant Scenarios" is where the behaviour of two autonomous agents are tested. Links are provided to the members of the research group, to collaborators at other institutions and to other projects.

  1. Chiou, Guey-Fa, Learning Rationales and Virtual Reality Technology in Education, Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 1995, v23 n4 p327-36.
  2. Uretsky, Michael, Simulation and Gaming; Directions, Issues, Ponderables, Simulation and Gaming, June 1995, v26 n2 p219-24.
  3. Cornell, R., Bailey, D., Bollet, R., Virtual Reality: Therapeutic Tool or Time Bomb? Educational Media International, December 1994, v31 n4 p247-49
  4. Stanfel, Julie, Programming for the Virtual Commons, Educational Media International, December 1994, v31 n4 p242-46
  5. Dietzel, R., Bird, M., Kohler, A., Adding Virtual Technology to the Curriculum - A Fictional Example, Educational Media International, December 1994, v31 no4 p238-41
  6. Homan, W.J., Virtual Reality: Real Promises and False Expectations, Educational Media International, December 1994, v31 no4 p 224-27.
  7. Hedburg, J., Alexander, S., Virtual Reality in Education: Defining Researchable Issues, Educational Media International, December 1994, v31 no4 p214-20.
  8. Thomas, P., Macredie, R. , Games and the Design of Human-Computer Interfaces, Educational and Training Technology International, May 1994, v32 n2 p134-42.
  9. Schlecter, T., Bessemer, D., Kolosh, K., Computer-Based Simulation Systems and Role-Playing: An Effective Combination for Fostering Conditional Knowledge, Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, Fall 1992, v19 n4 p110-14.
  10. Dede, Christopher J., The Future of Multimedia: Bridging to Virtual Worlds, Educational Technology, May 1992, v32 n5 p54-60.
  11. Helsel, Sandra, Virtual Reality and Education, Educational Technology, May 1992, v32 n5 p38-42.
  12. McLellan, Hilary, Magical Stories: Blending Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, Imagery and Visual Literacy Conference Readings, Tempe, Arizona, Oct. 12-16, 1994.
  13. McLellan, Hilary, Avatars, Affordances, and Interfaces: Virtual Reality Tools for Learning, Visual Literacy in the Digital Age Conference Readings, Rochester, N.Y., October 13-17, 1993.
  14. Kelso, M., Weyhrauch, P. , Bates, J., Oz Project, Carnegie Mellon University, World Wide Web documents, Oz Project
  15. Hayes-Roth, B. and Associates, The Virtual Theater Project, Stanford University, World Wide Web documents, Virtual Theatre Project